Franchising -- whereby independent entrepreneurs are licensed to provide goods and services of uniform quality (hopefully) under their licensor's trademarks -- has long been the predominant method of distributing goods and services in the U.S. Time will tell how many suppliers use the Internet to "cut out the middleman", and instead, sell goods and services directly to the ultimate consumer. While franchising so far appears to be safe from the Internet, the Internet may not be safe from franchising -- or, perhaps more accurately, from the world wide web of laws that govern franchising. The explosive growth of Internet commerce has greatly increased the potential for unforeseen liability. In cyberspace, franchise law violations can occur in any jurisdiction from which someone can access the supplier's Internet website.
Michael J. Lockerby,
A World Wide Web of Potential Franchise Law Violations,
Rich. J.L. & Tech
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/jolt/vol6/iss1/6